Tag Archives: internship match

Possible Impact of Federal Hiring Freeze on the Internship Match

Dear fellow students,

As many of you already know, President Trump issued an executive order on January 23rd toInternships in Psychology Workbook freeze the hiring of Federal civilian employees across the executive branch with the exception of military personnel. The President’s memorandum can be found here. At present, this freeze includes all hiring at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP), and the Indian Health Service (IHS). Taken together, these three Federal departments are host to more than 700 APA-accredited internship slots, the vast majority of which are accredited through the VA.

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Match Day: May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor

APAGS hopes the odds are ever in your favor. (Source: "The Hunger Games" by duncan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

APAGS hopes the odds are ever in your favor. (Source: “The Hunger Games” by duncan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

For many of us, Match Day is reminiscent of the Hunger Games. We are entering into a lottery for our future, and that is certainly terrifying for many. For clinical, counseling, and school folks, this is the culmination of the better part of a year spent on writing applications, mock interviews, anxiously awaiting interview invitations, traveling the country, Skyping, ranking, and then waiting for the all important email on Match Day.

Today, many students will be thrilled to match; even more thrilled if they match to a top choice! Celebrations kick in and plans for next year quickly begin. For far too many others, the experience will be much different. A heartbreaking email revealing they have not matched and an invitation to participate in yet another round of applications, interviews, and a matching process.

To those who matched this year, congratulations! For those of you who did not, we have some support resources, and we stand in solidarity with you. Whatever your outcome was today, I wish you the best in your next steps.

What We Know Today

Here’s the data APPIC released this morning about the 2016-2017 internship cohort:

  • 3,725 applicants participated in the match (i.e., submitted final rankings). 3,648 of these students were from accredited doctoral programs.
  • 3,235 applicants matched in Phase I; an 87% overall match rate.
  • 84% of applicants who matched got one of their top three choices.
  • There were more available positions (3,800) in the match than applicants who submitted final rankings. At the end of today’s Phase I, 490 applicants remain unmatched, 565 internship positions remain unfilled, and 263 of those are accredited.

For individuals who did not match today in Phase I, this last point provides hope — but may be of little solace to lessen the heartbreak of not matching.  The implications of this imbalance are significant. It hits us deeply in our pockets, as an extra academic year could mean additional unplanned debt. Another year in school could mean delaying other major life events such as getting married, starting a family, or buying a house. While we certainly could look at the “silver lining” of not matching — such as a focused year to complete dissertation and gain additional, possibly specialized, clinical training — the pain and the crisis remain.

An Upswing Since 2011

Since the 2011-2012 match, APPIC has reported a yearly increase in match rates. However, it is important to understand that APPIC only provides data on students who participate in their match, and today’s data is limited to Phase I. For a complete picture of students from accredited doctoral programs who need — and who receive — internships (particularly accredited ones), we turn to data we’ve requested from APA’s Commission on Accreditation. Here’s the information we have:

Internship year Match rate of students from APA accredited doc programs to any internship Match rate of students from APA-accredited doc programs to APA accredited internships
2011-2012 83.1% 51.9%
2012-2013 88.8% 54.6
2013-2014 90.1% 57.7%
2014-2015 93.0% 60.1%
2015-2016 95.3% 68.4%

For current interns, the overall match rate looks good, with 95.3% of students from an APA accredited program matching to any internship. At the same time, we continue to see a sizable gap in students from APA accredited programs who match to APA accredited internships; a mere 68.4% match rate. We are optimistic that the match rates for accredited internships will continue to climb for the 2016-2017 internship cohort. Today’s data from APPIC shows that 72.9% of all ranking applicants from APA and CPA accredited programs matched to accredited internships (this number may look different when CoA releases their data for the 2016-2017 internship year).

Our Advocacy Efforts

For APAGS members, committee and staff, the internship crisis continues to be a grave problem. It is a crisis that remains on the top of the agenda for your APAGS leaders and other advocates within the discipline. The internship stimulus package has supported the growth of internships, and programs continue to reach out for guidance in the development of accredited internships. Champions are tirelessly advocating on behalf of students for the reimbursement of intern services through Medicaid, which could substantially change the status of this crisis along with greatly serving the public. Still, there is much work to be done.

APAGS has been working tirelessly over the past years on advocacy efforts related to the internship crisis. Here are the areas where we have focused particular energy:

  • The $3 million internship stimulus package has helped to create 157.5 accredited internship positions at 29 different sites as of January 2016.
  • We produced a video about the internship crisis, highlighting student experiences and the devastation of not matching.
  • A panel at the 2014 Annual Convention brought together students and other stakeholders to discuss the internship crisis and to explore creative approaches to end the crisis, resulting in an academic paper. Work on these ideas is ongoing.
  • We have been meeting with members of various psychology training councils to prioritize accredited internship development in places with untapped potential for growth; for example, university-based psychology training clinics, community colleges, and school districts.
  • We provide information to applicants to graduate school on how to find a program that best meets their needs, and how to interpret publicly available data about programs, including match rates.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Unlike The Hunger Games where there is only one winner, Match Day brings a winning outcome to many participants. While the odds are improving, it’s up to each of us to change the nature of this game.

  • Please encourage your program to become active in advocating for the development of an internship program.
  • Talk with your practicum sites about the value of hosting an accredited internship.
  • Share the APAGS video about the internship crisis with everyone you know, along with the administration at your school.
  • Engage your state psychological association to become involved in the advocacy efforts for medicaid reimbursement.
  • Share your experiences with us through a guest blog post.

We would love to hear your internship story and your advocacy efforts (additional ideas here). The more we can share ideas, collaborate on solutions, and raise a loud collective voice, the sooner we can end this crisis.

Match Day: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

For doctoral students in clinical, counseling, and school psychology who are applying for internship for the 2014/2015 training year, today is the day that many have stressed over and dreaded since they began the application process last summer.

For many, the overwhelming sensation will be one of relief. However, for others the reality of their match results will be more complicated. Perhaps they matched to a site that will require a move away from their families. Even worse, a critical mass of students will not match at all. They will feel heartbroken, shocked, and angry.

The internship crisis remains one of the biggest challenges for psychology graduate students. While trainees must secure a doctoral internship to meet the requirements for graduation and licensure, there are simply not enough positions to go around. The crisis is even more severe when the number of accredited positions is considered.

2014 Data

Today’s preliminary match statistics show the following:

  • 4,335 students entered the match, with 3,974 completing the process and submitting a rank-order list
  • 3,501 positions were available through the match, with 2,588 of those positions accredited
  • 3,173 students matched to any internship site, with only 2,474 matching to an accredited internship site

This makes the 2014 match rate for doctoral students to an APA- or CPA- accredited internship 62%. This is unacceptable.

2014 Internship Match Day Blog - screensot w refsThe Crisis Lives On

While this year’s numbers are an improvement from last year, the number of trainees who did not match to an accredited internship position should be of grave concern to the training community. Students from accredited doctoral programs in good standing, who have been deemed ready and qualified to obtain an internship position, should be able to do so.

There is also much more to the internship crisis than the match rate. Qualitative data from APPIC’s 2011 survey on the internship imbalance found that, for students with both positive and negative outcomes, the internship process was experienced as being “extremely stressful,” “overwhelming,” “inhuman,” “demoralizing,” and “traumatizing.” When asked how they felt on match day, responses ranged from “defeated,” “angry,” and “betrayed” to “heartbroken” and “devastated.” The system, with significantly fewer positions than the number of students seeking an internship, takes a substantial emotional toll on applicants.

Things need to change. Now.

APAGS’s Response

APAGS cares deeply about the internship crisis, and it has remained a top priority for the committee over the past several years. Along with key stakeholders in the training community, APAGS continues to tirelessly advocate for solutions to ameliorate the imbalance. Here are some highlights on what is being done:

  • In 2012, APA passed the Internship Stimulus Package, which provided $3 million in grant funding to increase the number of accredited internship positions.
  • APAGS regularly advocates for increased funding for doctoral training through the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program and the Health Research Services Administration (HRSA).
  • Working with state psychological associations, APAGS is advocating for interns’ services to become eligible for Medicaid and insurance reimbursement (which could potentially create a sustainable source of funding for creating new positions).
  • Most importantly, APAGS is leading an effort with doctoral training councils to develop a thoughtful and comprehensive plan to solve the internship crisis.

Moving Forward

Unfortunately, change has been slow. The internship crisis is a systemic and multifaceted problem that will require complex solutions to eradicate. However, there are several things that you, as a trainee, can do to help solve the problem.

  • Encourage your doctoral program to create an affiliated internship or develop internship positions in the community. Programs, in this way, would contribute positions and not just applicants to the pool, and would be able to create placements for a number of their own students.
  • Participate in advocacy efforts at both the federal and state level, on issues that affect funding for training and reimbursement options.
  • Finally, APAGS welcomes the input and collaboration of passionate individuals on this important issue. Consider writing a blog post that features your thoughts and ideas.

If you were one of the students who was able to match to an internship today, congratulations. We hope you can celebrate and enjoy your accomplishment. If you were unable to match this time around, please know that you have support. APAGS has resources for students who did not match. As fellow students, it is important to support our colleagues during this time. The internship crisis is a stressful and grueling process for all involved. Many well-qualified and exceptional students do not match through no fault of their own. The system is broken. If we all continue to work together as students and advocates, change is possible. But we must fight for it, fight together, and fight now.